City Clerk Deanna Despain, who died in an accident at her home on Saturday. Photo: courtesy City of Berkeley

Deanna Despain, Berkeley’s City Clerk since 2008, died on January 7th after apparently falling down the stairs in her home in Oakland. Interim City Manager Christine Daniel issued a statement to staff yesterday afternoon:

“I am deeply saddened to share with you that early Saturday morning, our friend and colleague City Clerk Deanna Despain passed away. Her family has shared with us that, although it is too soon to expect an official report, Oakland Police Department and the Coroner’s Office officials have told them that her death was a result of a terrible accident. This was very sudden, and our hearts are with her family as they come to terms with this unexpected tragedy.

“We realize this comes as a terrible shock to everyone who has been lucky enough to work with Deanna, who has been the City Clerk since May 2008. We are working with her family on how COB staff can support them, especially her husband and 10-month old daughter.”

Authorities say Berkeley’s city clerk died after falling down a staircase in her home and was found by her husband shortly before 2 a.m. Saturday, as their infant daughter slept in another room. She apparently had been dead for a few hours.

Daniel also provided a personal statement about the 37-year old Despain:

“This is a heartbreaking loss for Deanna’s family, as well as all of us at the City. She was an incredible human being and an excellent city clerk who worked incredibly hard, cared deeply about good government, her profession and her staff. But most of all, she loved her friends, and her family. To her husband and daughter especially, she is irreplaceable.”

Berkeley City Clerk Deanna Despain found dead in Oakland [01.09.12]

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Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...